The pioneering spirit of New Zealanders
came to the fore at the end of the nineteenth century
when flight was just a new idea.
The Great Barrier Pigeongram Service was the forerunner
to air mail in New Zealand.
This site looks at some of the milestones in New
Zealand's air mail & aviation history and is
dedicated to those whom, with determination and great
fortitude shaped it. Grateful thanks to the many who
have spent much time and effort compiling a
magnificent historical record of our pioneers
endeavours, for without their dedication, there would
not be a record for those of us interested in this
engrossing subject to consult.
Survey, special, and first flights have been
fastidiously documented by those of the NZ Air Mail Society to give
a great timeline of New Zealand's aeronautical and postal history.
Not only is the documentary of these events available
in numerous books by the Air Mail Society of New Zealand, but
the exciting pasttime of flight cover collecting is
thriving, with the hobby being enjoyed by thousands
of people around the world.
The collecting of New Zealand flight covers has
international appeal because of the country's
relatively small size, isolation, and attractive stamps
that have been produced over the years. The various
aspects of "airmail cover" collecting include airmail
and cinderella labels, the timestamp franks applied by
post offices, first flights, "crash" covers, signatures
of famous aviators, and the many stamp varieties,
including early "Air Mail" stamp sets issued by NZ
The story began in 1897, when the first pigeongram left Great Barrier Island for
At the time of this first airmail one could not have envisaged the
tremendous changes that would take place over the following century.
In 1911, 9-26 September, the First UK Aerial Post flights took place
between London and Windsor to commemorate the Coronation of King George V.
Cards and letters addressed to New Zealand were carried on these flights.
In 1914, New Zealand's first unofficial air mail was dropped by pioneer
aviator J.W.H. Scotland from his Caudron biplane.
On December 6, 1919, Capt. Euan Dickson dropped advertising circulars over
the city of Christchurch.
The first official airmail flight took place December 16, 1919, by
another pioneer aviator George B. Bolt who, in a Boeing seaplane, delivered
a quantity of letters from Auckland to Dargaville.
Trial and special flights were also undertaken until 1922 with some
large amounts of mail being delivered.
In January, 1928, the first flight from Australia to New Zealand ended in disaster. Later in
the year the "Southern Cross" piloted by Kingsford Smith attempted the
In the years that followed a number of epic journeys were undertaken by
people with courage and determination second to none.
On December 17, 1929, flights by the Permanent Air
Force were made to the stricken area of Karamea, near the top of the West
Coast of the South Island, after a large earthquake hit the area.
In February, 1931, a number of earthquakes devastated the Napier-Hastings-Wairoa area in the
During the 1930's the aviation industry flourished -
not only in New Zealand, but throughout the world.